A special sports program adapted for teens and children on the autism spectrum is giving participants the chance not only to play, but to ace the game of tennis.
The program, Proset Autism, uses the sport as a therapeutic tool.
Founder Philippe Manning is a tennis coach and therapist.
He says it teaches children patience, perseverance and helps relieve their stress.
And for 11 year-old Toren Pleasance, it’s given a sense of belonging he hasn’t experienced with other sports.
“I love it,” Toren told Global News. “It’s my favourite sport, tennis,”.
Toren has severe ADHD, and falls on the autism spectrum.
“We had tried gymnastics, we had tried karate we had tried soccer and he would just run around trying to do his own thing and we just finally gave up,” said Lara Pleasance, Toren’s mother.
That was until they found Proset Autism.
“Oh my god it was like a miracle, because it’s really important for them to have something that they’re good at,” Pleasance added.
“You can see that through their smiles,” Manning told Global News. “It’s really breathtaking. I love it!”
The program has several chapters across the West Island.
It’s gone so well it’s now expanding to Ottawa, and soon, Toronto
“Things are really moving,” Manning said.
“I thought I was going to stay on one level and just try to get better until I move on and look at where I’m now, I’m better,” Toren said with pride.
“I don’t know how far he can go, it’s amazing,” added Pleasance.